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Posted: 10/18/2001 12:54:32 PM EDT
[url]http://www.citypaper.net/articles/101801/news.godfrey.shtml[/url] Novel Security Measures A local man was kept off a recent flight because of a book he was carrying. by Gwen Shaffer Book him: By carrying the novel Hayduke Lives!, Neil Godfrey set off a bizarre turn of events that prevented him from flying. Everyone knows it is a bad idea to try and board a plane carrying a box cutter, a flight manual written in Arabic, or a sack full of mysterious white powder. But with ultra-tightened airport security, a book could also prevent you from boarding that plane. No kidding. It happened just last week in Philadelphia. Neil Godfrey arrived at Philadelphia International Airport around 9:30 a. m. on Wed., Oct. 10. His brothers girlfriend dropped him off with plenty of time to spare before his 11:40 a.m. United Airlines flight. Godfrey was on his way to Phoenix, where his father lives. From there, the family was planning to head out for a vacation at Disneyland. It is fair to say that Godfrey brother of City Paper webmaster Ryan Godfrey doesnt look unusual for a 22-year-old kid living in Center City. His outfit that day was typical: black Dockers, a T-shirt with a logo for the now-defunct Phoenix Gazette newspaper and New Balance running shoes. He has a medium build, recently dyed jet-black hair and a quiet demeanor. When Godfrey stepped up to the ticket counter, the United clerk informed him he had been selected for a random baggage search. "No problem," he replied, going through the usual motions of checking his bag and getting a boarding pass. Now toting nothing but a novel and the most recent copy of The Nation magazine, Godfrey hiked through the concourse toward his boarding gate. As he passed through the metal detector, an airport security guard furrowed his brow at Godfreys reading selections as they disappeared through the conveyor belt. On the cover of the book, Hayduke Lives! by Edward Abbey, is an illustration of a mans hand holding several sticks of dynamite. The 1991 novel is about a radical environmentalist, George Washington Hayduke III, who blows up bridges, burns tractors and sabotages other projects he believes are destroying the beautiful Southwest landscape.
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 12:55:14 PM EDT
"For the first time, it occurred to me the book may be a problem," Godfrey recalls. He proceeded through the security checkpoint and sat down to read near his boarding gate. About 10 minutes had passed when a National Guardsman approached Godfrey. "He told me to step aside," Godfrey says. "Then he took my book and asked me why I was reading it." Within minutes, Godfrey says, Philadelphia Police officers, Pennsylvania State Troopers and airport security officials joined the National Guardsman. About 10 to 12 people examined the novel for 45 minutes, scratching out notes the entire time. They also questioned Godfrey about the purpose of his trip to Phoenix. The fact that Godfrey recently dropped out of Temple University and has yet to find a job may have piqued suspicion of law enforcement officials even more. "The fact that I dont work or go to school may have contributed to them thinking I have nothing to live for," Godfrey speculates. Eventually, one of the law enforcement officials told Godfrey his book was "innocuous" and he would be allowed to board the plane. "I was pretty shaken up," he says. "But I also felt guilty that I hadnt realized bringing this book to the airport may cause a problem." Another 10 minutes or so passed while he sat in the waiting area. A female United employee Godfrey failed to jot down her name came over and informed him that he wouldnt be allowed to fly, "for three reasons." The first reason, she said, was that Godfrey was reading a book with an illustration of a bomb on the cover. Secondly, she said, he purchased his ticket on Sept. 11. (Godfrey bought the ticket on Priceline.com shortly after midnight, at least eight hours before the World Trade Center was attacked). And the final reason cited by the United employee was that Godfreys Arizona drivers license had expired. The employee pointed to a date to substantiate this allegation. "No," Godfrey told her. "Thats the day the license was issued." The woman then pointed to another date on the card, Feb. 17, 2000, contending it was the expiration date. Godfrey countered that the date identified him as "under 21" until then. "Too bad, its too late," the flight attendant informed him. A defeated and disappointed Godfrey reclaimed his luggage and was escorted out of the airport. When he got home, Godfrey did what a lot of guys do when they need consoling he phoned his mom. Godfreys mother offered to call United and attempt to straighten things out. A central reservation clerk assured her that her son was not banned from ever flying United again. She booked him on a different flight to Phoenix, this one departing Philadelphia at 3:04 p.m. that same afternoon.
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 12:55:48 PM EDT
Godfrey scurried back to the airport, leaving the Abbey novel at home. He exchanged it for a seemingly benign novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. When Godfrey arrived at the airport around 1:15 p.m., his luggage was again searched. But as Godfrey passed through the metal detector, a police officer recognized him from the commotion just a few hours earlier. The cop pulled Godfrey aside and made a few phone calls. Ultimately, he declared that everything checked out fine. But a National Guardsman standing nearby vetoed that decision. "This time, they took my Harry Potter book and about four people studied it for 20 minutes," Godfrey says. Finally, at about 1:45 p.m., officials apparently felt reassured that Godfrey was not a security threat. They told Godfrey he would be permitted on the plane, but that he couldnt pass through security until 2:30 p.m. At the appointed time, an escort took Godfrey through security, while at least 15 law enforcement officials looked on. Rather than taking Godfrey directly to his gate, however, he was ushered into a private interrogation room. "They patted me down and found nothing," Godfrey says. But when he emerged from this room, Burt Zastera, supervisor of airport operations for United, told him he would not be allowed to fly. "He told me he didnt know the reason why, that he was just conveying the information," Godfrey recalls. Zastera gave Godfrey a contact number he could call for a full explanation. Godfreys father called that number and was told his son was banned from flying United because he cracked "a joke about bombs." "That is totally false," Godfrey says, pointing out that no one at the airport ever mentioned this to him. Plus, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations stipulate that any passenger who jokes about explosives be arrested on the spot. By contrast, Godfrey was never charged or even accused of breaking the law. In fact, Philadelphia Police officers didnt even file an incident report, according to department spokesman Cpl. Jim Pauley. Other airport and law enforcement officials have very little to say about Godfreys treatment. Zastera says he is "not allowed to comment" on what happened because it is a security matter. United Airlines spokesman Chris Bradwig says he is "unaware" of the Oct. 10 incident. "Even so, we dont comment on security matters," he says. A supervisor with Aviation Safeguard, the company United contracts to man security checkpoints in Philadelphia, denied responsibility for detaining Godfrey. "The only ones who determine who cant get on a flight is the airline," says an Aviation Safeguard supervisor, who refused to provide her name. "We dont stop any books." Philadelphia International spokesman Mark Pesce agrees that only individual airlines determine whether to permit a passenger to fly. "When a passenger passes through security, it is under the jurisdiction of the airline. We dont get involved," he says, adding that stories like Godfreys are likely to become increasingly common. The FAA has no policy regulating "specific types of reading material," says spokeswoman Arlene Salac.
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 12:58:03 PM EDT
Yeah, that kind of security makes me feel really safe. What a bunch of fucking morons...we're no more secure than we were prior to 9/11. So I guess next month when I fly I should have "Blackhawk Down" in my checked luggage? I mean what would a guy like me (with an Arab name) want with that?
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 12:59:24 PM EDT
Pointers?
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 1:00:18 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 1:04:59 PM EDT
And I just flew back from Oklahoma while reading my copy of Anarchist Cookbook. God I love living in Texas (& OK).
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 1:12:26 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 2:03:21 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 2:07:24 PM EDT
In my Best Imbrog|io style- It is obvious that the criminal in question committed a Thoughtcrime, and his choice of reading material is offensive as well as dangerous. Juggernaut
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 2:23:52 PM EDT
I'm flying this weekend. Plan on reading Rainbow Six...finally. Maybe I should read something else like Martha Stewart or something??? Now that would definitely put off alarms at the airport! What's more troubling? An Indian reading Rainbow Six or Martha Stewart's gardening tips? Friggin idiots for security...I bet some of those morons had not even seen a book before so had to spend 20mins trying to figure out what it was they were examining. [pissed]
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 2:33:48 PM EDT
Maybe I'll read this on the plane...unless big brother security guard doesn't think its appropriate for the unwashed masses to be reading such filth. [img]http://imagep.webphotos.iwon.com//1000016957/1000016957_1018200162122PM0.2326929.jpg[/img]
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 2:44:08 PM EDT
I recently flew from LA to SF (Oakland actually) and back, of course reading my American Rifleman. No problems. And as a courtesy i left it in the seatback for other good Americans to read.
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 2:53:29 PM EDT
With cusomer service like they, United WILL be filing Chapter 11!!!!!
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 4:08:56 PM EDT
Next time one of you guys fly, bring "Unintended Consequences" with you [:)]
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 5:21:07 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Huero: Next time one of you guys fly, bring "Unintended Consequences" with you [:)]
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Yah, I'll bring UC, along with a Small Arms Review, and while I'm at it, "Debt of Honor" by Tom Clancy. That'll see if they're paying attention. "Debt of Honor" is the book where the 747 crashes into the capitol killing the president along with congress. That ought to throw up some red flags. Jack
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 5:47:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/18/2001 5:42:11 PM EDT by I_Luv_Carrots]
I remember like 2 years ago, I was in the Atlanta Airport. The magazine stand sold Guns and Ammo. I bought a copy to read. I thought at the time "I bet if there is another major hijacking, they will stop selling these in airports..." Wonder if they still sell them [rolleyes]
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 6:18:51 PM EDT
I don't see why not. Neither Guns nor Ammo were used to hijack the airplanes. Not a single shot was fired, nor a single gun/bullet used in the entire incident on 9-11. The entire issue of "gun control" should be thrown out the window since more lives were lost in a single day from weapons that did not involve firearms. Chew on that Sarah.
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 6:35:29 PM EDT
Originally Posted By raf: What's a tree-hugging eco-terrorist sympathizer doing riding an ozone-destroyer airplane anyway?
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I think you're assuming too much. I've read hippie crap, but not agreed with it. How else do you know how to defeat their arguments if you don't plan ahead? [:D] God Bless Texas
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 6:38:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By retrodog: And I just flew back from Oklahoma while reading my copy of Anarchist Cookbook. God I love living in Texas (& OK).
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As my high school chemistry teacher explained, "That book is designed for killing the reader." She said she always kept of a copy of it on her bookshelf to show kids what not to do, but it had a bad habit of coming up stolen. It was a gifted and talented school, but we had our share of morons. God Bless Texas
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 7:17:58 PM EDT
sounds like there might be a little more to the story than is being told. But we will never know. Since 9-11, in Pit, I have seen but 5 people pulled from our flights. There may be more but I work there and only know of 5. One was a Sudan bound male of mid east descent with a forged passport, the other 4 were Egyptians all flying together to Frankfurt, wearing cammo pants steel toe work boots and all had satilite phones. The guy from Sudan was taken away by the FBI and the Egyptians were put on a flight the next day after having some post 9-11 etiquite lessons. We have also had the normal, almost rutine drunks and such but that doesnt count...pat
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 7:37:17 PM EDT
Un-effin-real. Good thing he didnt have a copy of Soldier of Fortune with him too.
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 8:21:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/18/2001 8:16:17 PM EDT by Skibane]
One was a Sudan bound male of mid east descent with a forged passport, the other 4 were Egyptians all flying together to Frankfurt, wearing cammo pants steel toe work boots and all had satilite phones.
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Yep, that would make me want to put 'em on the bus, too. "No sir, I'm sorry, but Greyhound does NOT have any routes that go to Frankfurt..."
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 9:06:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By hielo: [url]http://www.citypaper.net/articles/101801/news.godfrey.shtml[/url] Novel Security Measures A local man was kept off a recent flight because of a book he was carrying. by Gwen Shaffer Book him: By carrying the novel Hayduke Lives!, Neil Godfrey set off a bizarre turn of events that prevented him from flying.
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Unbelievable!! Can you say "Thought Police"!!!
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 9:10:53 PM EDT
As I stated before I think Mr. Godfrey did something to piss them off... you can still buy books like this and all fo your favorite gun rags at the airport. We will never know the full story.
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 9:15:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By hielo: [url]http://www.citypaper.net/articles/101801/news.godfrey.shtml[/url] When Godfrey stepped up to the ticket counter, the United clerk informed him he had been selected for a random baggage search. "No problem," he replied, going through the usual motions of checking his bag and getting a boarding pass. Now toting nothing but a novel [b]and the most recent copy of The Nation magazine,[/b] Godfrey hiked through the concourse toward his boarding gate.
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That would be a big red flag for me, I'd have confiscated that and destroyed it. What a pathetic rag The Nation is. Want to read lots of idiotic essays and articles apologizing for terrorism and criticism of our fight against it? Pick up a copy of The Nation. Try not to puke though.
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 9:19:25 PM EDT
I'm bring along a copy of Hustler, Penthouse, and Playboy next time I fly.
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 10:09:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Huero: Next time one of you guys fly, bring "Unintended Consequences" with you [:)]
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I actually dragged this book all around eastern europe a couple years ago. Finished reading it on my flight home. No one seemed to notice or care. Damn heavy book to lug around on vacation though. Are they ever going to make a paperback?
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